Just days after stating that Wade Phillips would be the team's coach through the entire season, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones lowered the boom Monday after a humiliating loss to Green Bay.
It is the first time in more than two decades as an NFL team owner that Jones has fired a coach during the season.
"An in-season changing is something I was reluctant to consider," Jones said. "I recently addressed the team and my comments with them were very brief and pointed. I told them they should not think this an admission of defeat or finality in this season.
"We have eight games left and we have one goal — to win."
The Cowboys were drubbed on the road by the Packers 45-7 in front of a national audience on Sunday night. The loss dropped the Cowboys to 1-7.
Phillips was given a two-year contract extension in January after the Cowboys won their first playoff game in more than a decade, and the organization had high hopes of becoming the first NFL team to play for a Super Bowl in its own stadium come February.
But the Cowboys have been substandard in all phases of the game since September.
"We are grateful to Wade and his contribution to the Cowboys, leading us," Jones said. "We also clearly understand we are not where we want to be at this time, and that's an understatement. "We share the responsibility — all of us."
The once potent combination of Marian Barber and Felix Jones has been ineffective at running back, quarterback Tony Romo saw his turnovers jump early in the season from last year's standing before being knocked out with a serious shoulder injury, and the pass defence and special teams have been negligent.
Jones pointed to Green Bay, who've dealt with several injuries this season, as an example of the kind of resiliency the Cowboys have lacked.
Offensive co-ordinator Jason Garrett — himself on the hot seat — takes over as coach for the rest of the season.
Garrett, 44, becomes the first former Cowboys player to become head coach. He was a backup quarterback behind Troy Aikman from 1993-99.
Garrett was interviewed for the job that Phillips won in early 2007 after Bill Parcells stepped down. Phillips had previously coached in Buffalo and Denver, with several other stops as defensive co-ordinator.
Jones said the opportunity exists for Garrett to grab hold of the permanent job after this season.
Paul Pasqualoni takes over the defensive play-calling duties from Phillips. Pasqualoni, once the defensive co-ordinator with Miami, has been the team's defensive line coach.
Dallas is on the road against the New York Giants next week.